Chapter two: Lobsters.

In their penthouse suite, Orion lazed out in one of the couches watching his court. The twins had settled at the large dining room table, papers spread around them, laptops open. They were going through the information that they had collected on the different Masters that were visiting. Their finances and habits and who they brought with them. They were exceptionally talented at that. Kev seemed to be glued to the TV. He had been upset when he found out that he couldn't go hunting, despite the promise of food. Maddy, on her own laptop, sat in one of the plush chairs, checking things back home. Lan, however, had gone into his bedroom to check on his fledgling, Alec. The boy was a bit wild and they left him locked in a kennel least he do something stupid. Orion didn't worry about it. Most fledglings were like that until they had settled, their minds getting used to being a vampire and not human. He would have preferred to leave the boy behind, but Alec was Lan's responsibility and he needed his second in command with him.

When Lan came out with the boy, who could pass as Lan's older brother, Kale shot him a dirty look. He didn't particularly care for Alec ever since his prized jumper got torn to bits. Lan kept a wide berth between the two of them and sat Alec on a couch before getting a pouch of blood for the both of them from the stocked fridge.

"What did you think?" Orion asked him, when Lan had made himself comfortable.

"We could take them. Easily. They didn't know what hit them... and we didn't use any force. And they actually believed that I was an idiot. Did you see the woman's expression when she looked at me? I thought she was supposed to be some sort of uber vampire knowing everything person. She couldn't even tell Kale and Trever apart." Of course, when the twins really went at it, most people had that problem. But someone who was supposed to be as powerful as Anita was proclaimed to be, she shouldn't have had any problems.

Orion shrugged, "Apparently we heard wrong. Nonetheless, you think we could handle them."

"Fairly easily. At least those two." He glanced over at the twins, "I'm going to wait for the reports on the others before I give my opinion on that."

"Give us a couple of hours," Trever said, looking up from the table. "And we'll have the first couple of ones." He and Kale were easy to tell apart now, as they had changed clothes. They didn't dress or act alike except when they were trying to fool people.

Lan nodded at that. Orion knew that the information would be in his hands just as the twins promised.

"Can I go to the gym?" Alec asked suddenly, looking to Lan for permission. His sire gave him a thoughtful look before handing him the room card.

"Stay out of trouble, or I won't let you out of the kennel until we leave, do you understand?"

Alec nodded, before darting out of the suite. Lan gave a fond smile.

"Fledglings are so cute."

Trever and Kale grunted in unison, causing Maddy to laugh.

Orion smiled slightly, before saying, "I think we should see who the most powerful of them is and then take them out. From there, I think we can dictate terms."

"Actually," Kale said, tapping a pen to his lips thoughtfully. "I have a different idea, if I might be so bold to suggest."

A young man with a slightly wild look in his eyes answered Samuel's knocking. He had gotten a message from the Los Angeles contingent of vampires saying that they wished to talk business. He brought the family with him as well as his guards. Rumors from Guilty Pleasures indicated that they were a strange bunch and the man at the door seemed to confirm these rumors, as he appeared to be sniffing them.

"Alec! Let them in and stop smelling them."

The young man, Alec, moved away from the door, grumbling. "But they smell funny."

"Alec..." And Samuel could now see the speaker, a younger man who looked no older than his twins and who could pass as Alec's younger brother. Alec sighed and retreated into the room, flopping down on the floor to watch television. "My apologies. He's a fledgling and hasn't quite learned manners yet."

Smiling, Samuel said, "It's all right. There was no harm done." Once inside, he could see a pair of red haired twins which amused him and a woman with curly red hair. Another head could be seen watching the television but he couldn't tell much about the owner.

"I'm Lan. Orion is out for the moment, so I'm afraid you'll have to deal with us." He smiled apologetically. "This is Kale, Trever and Maddy." The twins waved from their positions on the table, while Maddy came over and offered her hand. When he reached out to take it and kiss, she grasped in a firm hand shake.

"It's good to meet you. I've always liked Cape Cod. It's such a beautiful place, untouched by most of the ugly cities, unlike LA."

Thea smiled, "That's very kind of you to say. I'm Alethea and these are my children, Sampson, Thomas and Cristo."

"They're lovely. Please come, sit down. Can we get you anything to eat or drink?"

"Why thank you."

Samuel knew that his wife had began to examine the Los Angeles vampires to see if they could help unlock their son's potential. They didn't know much about them- he hadn't even known that they had brought a fledgling along- but one thing he quickly noticed is that they went for human protocol and not vampire. It felt odd, but rather nice, with less jumping through hoops and trying to prove who stood on top. Once they were seated, the red haired twins joined them, papers in hand. He couldn't see why Jean-Claude had problems telling them apart. Kale wore jeans and a t-shirt with Edvard Munch's 'The Scream' on it, while Trever had darker jeans and a plain green long sleeved shirt.

Settling their papers, Trever said, "We're hoping for a bit of a side deal beyond what's happening at the Ballet." He grinned a bit. "We own several high class restaurants in Los Angeles, the trendy sort where the stars like to be seen. And the menu always looks good when you can say 'fresh lobster, straight from Cape Cod'. So, we were hoping to buy lobster from you."

That was the last thing Samuel expected. Lobster. "I'm sure that's definitely possible. A lot of the fishermen would be delighted to sell to Los Angeles- at a good price, of course."

"We'd be willing to pay handsomely for them."

Samuel smiled a bit, suddenly feeling uncertain as to his situation. It seemed so very upfront without any kind of secondary agenda- not at all how vampires did things. He glanced over at Thea. Apparently she didn't see much potential in Maddy, for she had been quiet so far. Cristo and Thomas were watching the television from their seats. From the sounds of it, the show was the original CSI. He had a passing fondness for it and recognized Grissom's voice easily. Sampson, unlike the twins, was paying attention to the goings-on, as was appropriate for his heir. "That's wonderful," he said trying to hide the fact that he felt slightly off-balance. "Though I have to admit, I find it hard to believe that lobster was the only reason why you asked me here tonight."

Kale and Trever glanced at Lan and Maddy. Maddy smiled and spread out her hands in a 'you've got us' gesture.

"While lobster is a very important thing, especially for Kale and Trever's businesses, yes, we do have an ulterior motive for bringing you here," Maddy said, an apologetic smile on her face. "You see, to be blunt, we see Anita as a threat."

This got Thea's attention. She sat up straighter and looked at Maddy directly. "A threat," she said softly. "Why do you think that."

"Because of the ardeur. It's dangerous."

"There are others who have it, like Jean-Claude," she pointed out.

"But Jean-Claude knows how to control it. Anita is like a child with fire. She doesn't know how to use it or control it properly, and no one seems to be interested in teaching her." Maddy looked unhappy about this. "With all the visiting vampires, it could be a highly explosive situation."

He had to agree with that, although Thea didn't particularly seem to care. She was too interested in unlocking their children's potential powers.

From the television, Alec gave a yelp and quickly scurried away as the other one snarled, tossing a can of soda at the fledgling.

"Kev!" Lan barked, before turning to give Samuel and his family an apologetic look. "Siblings don't always get along," he said with a shrug.

"I know this all too well," Samuel agreed, mentally putting together some of their dynamics. Lan appeared to be the sire of both Kev and Alec, and neither of the two children appeared to be completely sane. He wondered if it was like Belle Morte and those of her line, who tended to have more sexual powers.

Having been chased away from the television, Alec sat on the floor between Maddy and Lan, leaning up against his sire's legs.

"So, what is it that you wish to do about this, then?"

Lan reached down and absently petted Alec on the head, "For now? Just watch. See if Anita is as powerful as they say, and if she is, if she is that dangerous, I think for all our safety it might be for the best to put her down." He grimaced a bit as he said that. Samuel looked at the others. The twins were stoic and unreadable while Maddy still looked upset. She obviously didn't like the idea of killing Anita. He thought that she didn't like the idea of killing anyone.

Then he looked at his own family. Thea looked as unreadable as Kale and Trever. He knew that she wanted Anita to help bring their sons into their powers, but he didn't know if it was something she would risk if her sons were lost to Anita. Sampson also looked worried as he studied Lan and Maddy. His own twins- well, Thomas didn't seem to care one way or the other and he seemed to like what he saw earlier that day. Cristo... no.

"I will think about it," he said finally. It would require a lot of thinking.

Maddy spread her hands out. "That's all we ask. It's a big decision, and not an easy one, but it is something that needs to be thought about. For all our safety."

"Who did you bring?" Thea asked suddenly. Samuel looked at his wife curiously.

"Bring?" Lan asked. "You mean for her pomme de sang? No one.We didn't feel the need to offer up one of our own for such an... honor."

From the couch Kev called out, "We could always give her Alec."

Alec growled low, but Lan's hand on him seemed to calm him down enough that he didn't do anything more than that.

Again, Samuel thought again that the Los Angeles vampires were strange. Everyone else, he knew, had brought several candidates. But they didn't care. It didn't matter to them. They were more interested in lobster than a pomme de sang for Anita. Lobster! Either they didn't feel they needed the alliance or they just weren't interested. Perhaps both. Again he looked at Thea. Her expression had changed slightly to curious thoughtfulness- they would have much to talk about. He stood up from the couch. "I believe we must be going now. You have given me.. us... a lot to think about and it needs to be discussed."

Standing up, Lan walked over and offered Samuel his hand. "Of course. I hope we hear from you soon, if only about the lobster."

"And perhaps clams," Kale said absently and gave a smile.

"And perhaps clams," Samuel repeated. He shook Lan's hand and bid the others a good night, before leaving with his family.

Hostile Takeover
The Los Angeles Contingent ~ Fan Fiction ~ At the Ball